Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Welcome to the party, California

As promised, after finishing the Texas patchwork pillow, I had to make a California pillow for Matt.
I followed the same procedure as I did on the Texas pillow and even decided to use the same fabrics. I was originally planning to make it in green, but Matt thought the pillows would look better if they matched, and since it was his pillow, I let him make the call.
The backs also match. I love this print for a pillow back, and as much as I love the fronts, I think the pillows might spend a little (just a little) time turned around every now and then.
Now, it's time to take a break from the pillows and move on to the million other items on my list. I worked on my t-shirt quilt a little this weekend, but it's hard to get too motivated about that one, so we'll see if I stick with it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Garden bounty

This year, we expanded the garden in our backyard, which has allowed us to experiment a bit more than last year. We actually have two gardens, a small one next to the house, and a large one in the yard, in addition to several pots of herbs.
The small one contains six tomato plants, two green beans, parsley, and two jalapeno plants. The large one contains peppers (three bell, two banana, one Hungarian wax, and one Anaheim), Brussels sprouts, okra, zucchini, corn, carrots, kale, chard, asparagus, eggplant, and cantaloupe. The last one was a surprise to us. We have a compost bin that we've been using for about two years now, and we used a good amount of the compost in the garden this year. The bonus/problem with doing that is you take the chance of basically planting any seed that stuck around in your compost, and apparently a cantaloupe snuck in and really took off while we were away on our road trip. Luckily, it came in in a corner of the garden that was mostly empty, so we're letting it keep going, and there are already two melons on the vine!
 Salsa verde tacos made with peppers from the garden

Tons of pickled banana and jalapeno peppers from the garden (This is only about half of our first batch.)

You can also see a large squash plant just outside the garden fence. That was another result of the compost. The bin used to sit right there, and I guess that seed got left behind when we moved the bin. We let the squash grow in because we were curious what kind it might be, and it turned out to be an acorn squash, so even though the location obviously isn't ideal, it sounded too good not to keep it. It's already produced nine or so squash.
So far, we've enjoyed a steady stream of zucchini, okra, peppers, kale, beans, and chard, and the tomatoes are just starting to come in, though B's been devouring them as quickly as they appear. Thank goodness we planted six of those! We can't wait to see what the corn does!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The great Schunke road trip: Part 3

(This post is the third and final part of our road trip recap. Check out this post for part 1, the beach, and this post for part 2, Atlanta.) For the third and final leg of the road trip, we headed northwest into the hills of Tennessee to meet up with Matt's family.
His family is normally a little more spread out than mine, so it had been several years since everyone had gotten together. In fact, the last time we'd seen several of the cousins was at our wedding almost seven years ago, and we hadn't met some of the youngest ones, who have been born since then.
Due to the isolation of the resort and the fact that we had 14 people (ranging in age from 2 to over 70) to accommodate, we tried to keep things as simple as possible, so much of the time was spent at the pool (both inside and outside); inside chatting, reading, and playing games; and going on a few hikes. Oh, and B got his first manicure. He was very proud of those nails.
It was lovely to get to spend some more time outside in the beautiful surroundings, and even B got into the hikes.
Months ago, after much discussion, everyone decided to plan a reunion and meet up at a resort outside Crossville, Tennessee, which is about midway between Nashville and Knoxville. Relatives came in from Detroit, California, Vermont, DC, Chicago, and St. Louis (via Atlanta).
This trip has also been a milestone in B's acclimation to the pool. He was not a fan of it last year and was still pretty hesitant at the start of summer this year, but since conquering the ocean waves, he has just made one leap after another. He loves using his whale floatie, which allows him to easily float upright, and toward the end of our time in Tennessee, he also learned he could float on his back and really loved it (before, he didn't like putting his head in the water). I think this means we'll be spending a lot more time at the pool at home. :)
The great Schunke road trip of 2014 has come to a close, but it was wonderful to see so much family and add a few new places and adventures to our list. Now, back to exploring St. Louis...